Bashir proof is strong, say police
TOM ALLARD HERALD CORRESPONDENT
August 11, 2010
JAKARTA: Indonesian authorities insist they have compelling proof that Islamic
preacher Abu Bakar Bashir was instrumental in the formation of a new terrorist
group, expressing confidence he will not evade serious charges as he has done
in the past.
They also confirmed that the Australian embassy in Jakarta - damaged by a car
bomb in 2004 - was one of many potential targets of the new cell, although
playing down fears there were any serious plans to strike it again.
Mr Bashir is notorious for his praise of jihadists and co-founding the militant
group Jemaah Islamiah. He was arrested on Monday after raids over the weekend
that uncovered a bomb-making ''factory'' and led to the arrests of five other
''They [police] have very strong evidence against him,'' said Ansyaad Mbai, who
holds a cabinet-level position as the head of Indonesia's agency for
Mr Bashir has been under intensive investigation for his links to the terror
cell after its training camp was discovered and disrupted in Aceh in February.
Police have alleged Mr Bashir not only organised the funding for the cell and
the camp but appointed the renowned terrorist Dulmatin as its field commander,
as well as other key personnel.
The Indonesian daily Kompas reported that Mr Bashir was shown a video of the
military-style facility before the February raids and was told by an associate,
Ubeid, that it was the proof that his money was well spent.
Mr Ubeid, who was a member of Mr Bashir's new organisation, Jamaah Ansharut
Tauhid, and knew the slain terrorist mastermind Noordin Top, was arrested
earlier this year.
It is believed there are at least five witnesses who police have convinced to
testify against Mr Bashir. Whether those witnesses continue to co-operate until
Mr Bashir appears in court remains problematic however, although Indonesian
police also have other evidence, Mr Ansyaad said.
A police source said the Australian embassy, along with two other foreign
missions and two luxury hotels in Jakarta, was on a ''wish list''.
More advanced were plans to bomb Jakarta's police headquarters and the barracks
of its mobile brigade in West Java. The Aceh cell also had an earlier plot to
assassinate the Indonesian President.
Mr Bashir has yet to be charged and police have until Monday to do so. The
preacher, 71, said he was innocent.
Source: The Age
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